ulaca (ulaca) wrote in times_xwd_times,
ulaca
ulaca
times_xwd_times

Times 27037 - Spooner in the Works

Today's was very much your average Monday offering - high in entertainment and not too taxing. The lovers of the bodice-ripping Regency tales of Ms Heyer get a clue all to themselves. Most of us will need most, if not all, of the checkers before essaying our answer. There's a nice aeronautical clue that will have some of us scratching our heads for the precise form of the first word; the second is easy enough, even if it may give some the hump. My favourite, I think, is 8 across, where many a pencil will have been being sharpened as crossword aficionados prepared to write in to say that this is a pretty ordinary cryptic definition. But it isn't after all. It's rather cunning. Or perhaps everyone apart from me got the parsing straight off. We shall see.

ACROSS

1 Initially served up some hotpot, Irish dish (5)
SUSHI - Initial letters of the 2nd to 6th words - not an Irish stew in sight
4 Spooner's fault opening package for Christmas? (8)
GIFTWRAP - RIFT GAP changing first letters and the second part gaining a silent W. Not sure if I have seen this conceit before but I like it. A tick for the setter for including a question mark, so that no one has to waste pencil lead pointing out that gift-wrapping services are available at times other than Christmas, and not at Christmas, at all, in some parts of the world, I would imagine. My last in.
8 This sort of business meeting might end quickly (5,9)
POWER BREAKFAST - lovely &lit; POWER (might) END (break) FAST (quickly). Not , as I first thought a CD, because anyone with sense would want to get out of a 5-star hotel making inane conversation with someone he doesn't know and go to a nice friendly caff.
10 Carry out appliance (9)
IMPLEMENT - double definition
11 Small instrument for piercing (5)
SHARP - S + HARP
12 Moan about having to guard silver dish (6)
HAGGIS - SIGH reversed around AG
14 Out? A Liberal admitting nothing speculative (8)
NOTIONAL - O in NOT IN + A + L
17 Especially a black protective coat Romeo discarded (5,3)
ABOVE ALL - A + B OVE[r]ALL
18 Minister in vicious circle (6)
CLERIC - anagram* of CIRCLE
20 Avid listener for example back inside (5)
EAGER - EG reversed in EAR
22 Love entering closed place of worship on which there's a tribal emblem (5,4)
TOTEM POLE - TO (closed - as of a door: cue discussion...) + O in TEMPLE
24 Tripping over stand in the way, an obstacle (9,5)
STUMBLING BLOCK - a simple charade (a + b) of STUMBLING (tripping over) and BLOCK (stand in the way)
25 Individual copies turned over with speed (8)
SEPARATE - APES reversed + RATE
26 Miserable old doctor by organ (5)
DREAR - DR + EAR; 'old' because it's a literary, and somewhat archaic word - though I have a suspicion that horryd would use it in his tomes.

DOWN

1 Son arrived after work and left in old plane (7,5)
SOPWITH CAMEL - OP + WITH (and) in S + CAME + L
2 Successfully complete repair? (3,2)
SEW UP - DD
3 Grim realities for a Hebrew (9)
ISRAELITE - REALITIES*
4 Band: T Rex up wearing outrageous gear (6)
GARTER - T + R (rex) reversed in GEAR*; I guess TR is an abbreviation for the animal in some dictionary... I guessed wrong - thanks to KG for the parsing
5 Perhaps half of Republicans originally in dissenting group (8)
FRACTION - R in FACTION
6 Floats gently in water, at first, behind front of ship (5)
WAFTS - W[ater] + AFT (behind) + S (front of ship)
7 One practising self-denial in a British town? Almost right (9)
ABSTAINER - A + B + STAINE[s-upon Thames] + R; when we lived in posh Virginia Water, we called it 'Stoines'.
9 Point at analyst producing computer program (12)
SPELLCHECKER - I think the idea here is that if you were, say, Harry Potter, and, first, you thought an analyst was a checker and, second, you thought that to point at someone was pretty much equivalent to spelling them, then you could - Petrificus Totalus - conjure up a spellchecker. (I had to Google the incantation - honest!)
13 "Material Girl"? (9)
GEORGETTE - DD for Heyer lovers; G is is 'a sheer, lightweight, dull-finished crêpe fabric named after the early 20th century French dressmaker Georgette de la Plante'.
15 I harshly criticise a poor place in Pakistan (9)
ISLAMABAD - I SLAM A BAD
16 A good many coming in to stock a number of small ships (8)
FLOTILLA - LOT in FILL A
19 Example that’s missing in policy (6)
STANCE - [in]STANCE
21 Odd drop of brandy before a dance (5)
RUMBA - RUM + B[randy] + A
23 Bracing air round region (5)
OZONE - O + ZONE
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